thinking about my father

Leonard Durso

I remember how he almost stumbled
going down the aisle
in Our Lady of Peace
to pray the Sunday
before his operation
he seemed frail to me
that day
and I was embarrassed
as if I had a right to be
this man who won 26 fights
one summer
who raised 7 brothers and sisters
because he was the oldest son
after his stepfather died
and then his mother
took them all in
to his home with my mother
newly wed
counted out his tips
on the kitchen table
all those years of his life
those tips that kept us solvent
inflated his salary
to make us almost middle class
the glasses sliding down his proud nose
his hand brushing his hair
as he squinted at the line on boards
cut lumber
put up a new kitchen wall
put a roof on the garage
panelled the bedroom
worked every day…

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